Saturday, June 21, 2014

Movie Mania!

Doug: So here's one of those Saturday posts that just gets thrown together at the last minute. The Prowler asked us a couple of days ago in the Wolverine post if he'd missed the SPOILED version of the X-Men: Days of Future Past post. Nope - oversight on our part as we were working through our scheduling issues earlier in May. By the way, I didn't say anything about myself last Monday when Karen was discussing some of her situations. Our oldest son graduated from college in the middle of May, and a week ago we moved him into his new big-boy apartment so he can start his graduate assistant position in the sports information department of one of our state universities. So it's been pretty hectic around here, too. Slowing down now.

Doug: Anyway, let's make this a general movie day. Feel free to discuss your impressions of the X-Men flick. My wife and I and some friends are headed to see Jersey Boys tonight; we've seen the Broadway show twice in Chicago, so are really looking forward to it. Also, the final theatrical trailer for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes came out a few days ago. I am really excited for this film! So feel free to let it all hang out on anything related to summer movies. And if you're not planning to see anything, how about a comparison/contrast of the Apes trailer with the last two films in the first series -- Conquest and Battle? I sure see some similarities. How do you think they'll end up bridging these first three to the original five, or... is that even the direction you think this is going?


Anonymous said...

These new POTA films have thought things out much more logically than the originals - a virus killing most of the human population makes a lot more sense, "Conquest" never explains how an ape uprising in one city leads to apes ruling the world and we were supposed to believe that the human race was overthrown by a bunch of apes wielding kitchen utensils !! And in "Battle" the apes are all talking and wearing their "Planet" clothes even though it's just a few years later ! I'd love to see a version of "Planet" and "Beneath" done by these film-makers but please don't destroy the whole world this time - that was another stupid thing, just the mutants' underground city will do !

Doug said...

Colin --

I am really liking the motion-light (whatever you call that tech -- HB can correct me as he comes along later) animation (similar to what was used in The Polar Express). That would be really cool to see those first couple of Apes movies remade in this fashion, to draw some consistency. Of course, I'd want a lead with the chops of Charlton Heston, rather than Marky Mark.


Doug said...

Not a spoiled comment, but merely a question:

Why does Professor X have to put his first two fingers to his temple to use his telepathy, but Obi-Wan Kenobi can do the Jedi mind trick just by looking at someone? Xavier's trope has gotten very tired for me.

So in regard to it looking like the Sentinels had big hair dryers in the abdomens -- what did everyone think of that being the mechanism that allowed them to change directions in flight?


Murray said...

The 1973 Sentinels were a bit of a snooze. Humanoid gun platforms. There should have been some clinkety-clankety attempt to make them adaptable to various mutants besides Magneto. Flamethrower for cold. Liquid nitrogen jet for heat. Some variety.

The Sentinels are irrelevant. Trask's far more important invention is the pocket-sized mutant detector! This is the key to the inferred better human-mutant relations "utopia" achieved. Humans would have security, literally and in general peace of mind. Prisons, banks, military bases, meeting rooms, etc would all have such units. No invisible/shapeshifting/teleporting/intangible mutants making everyone uncertain and nervous. "Monitors are clear. We can proceed."

The Xavier Two Finger Salute doesn't bother me one bit. People apparently need some cue to know when a character is using invisible powers. Why do film versions of Clark Kent have him lowering his glasses to use any vision power?

The two finger gesture is the film/live action equivalent of the comics and their zimzam "heat shimmer" effects that are always drawn around telepaths' heads when doing their thing.

Martinex1 said...

Ha. That's a great question about Xavier's two fingers to the temple. I guess it's visually better than rubbing his head furiously to build up a charge

I didn't mind the overall look of the sentinels. But I thought the giant abdomen fan would be easily disabled. I wish they retained their basic look in the future scenes though.

Overall I thought the characters in the future were very underdeveloped and it made the Xaviers seem like two completely different people rather than one who learned from his experiences.

I might be dense but I didn't think Magneto''s motivation was entirely clear toward the end His plot seemed underdeveloped and he seemed to go from trying to kill Raven to boldly taking on the government directly pretty quickly.

I really liked Quicksilver. I always liked him as an Avengers member and this was quite different. But it was great. The new Avengers movie has a challenge. So does any Flash movie appearance.


Pat Henry said...

DoFP: I have to say it wasn’t nearly as much fun as I expected it would be. The ’70s were a time of grotesque and ridiculous pop culture excesses with even the fuzz sporting Manchu mustaches, but you hardly got that. I would have liked to have seen a few more “wacka-chicka”-era mutants doing the Shaft, Bullitt, Foxy Brown jive. Would it have killed anyone to introduce Thunderbird? Heck, even Dazzler would have worked. Logan, for one, should have sprouted mondo kickass muttonchops in that era.

A bit too melancholy, an overload of nattering nabobs of negativity, considering—literally—the worst, much worse was yet to come. These are the salad days for mutant-kind.

Related, I disliked the implication that both Magneto and Prof X had essentially been on ice since oh-so-shortly after the events of “First Class.” I mean, Erik gets taken out in ’63 and spends ten years in solitary, and Xavier is still weepy about all of it so many years afterward? Do any of us here actually believe Magneto would cool his heels for very long in a plastic box, and—if he did—would this concentration camp survivor really come out with his wits intact, capable of being reasoned with? I would have much preferred the implication that Magneto and his merry Bro’hood of Evil Mutants were on an island somewhere setting up a gung-ho, napalm-in-the-morning fascist state and the govts of the world were getting ready to terminate his command with extreme prejudice. (I confess, the thing I hated most about the third installment of the Batman trilogy was the news he had been out of action for YEARS... what’s up with that? He could have spent those lost years kicking some tail and taking names even if he was off the commissioner’s Christmas card list.) I would have much preferred Xavier absorbed as a narcissistic, navel-gazing effete academic than an AA basket case with Beast as his pusher-man / sponsor. At the very least I would have much preferred that the Lost Bronze Years would have been a little less tied off.

Wouldn’t it have been a bit more of a kick if Erik had been captured not on the Grassy Knoll but rather much later, with a much richer and longer X-Manic history, inside the Watergate Hotel?

Loved Magneto’s surprisingly savage treatment of Wolverine—skewered, skyrocketed and plunked into the Potomac without so much as a backward glance: _Heal this!_ That’s hard, man, given so little provocation. You gotta admire the very direct way in which Magneto approaches problems.

Most of all, I loved the mutants in The ‘Nam and found myself wishing they’d made a feature movie about THAT.

DoFP was a solid movie. Never hit the soaring levels amazing that was The Avengers. Never plumbed the shockingly relevant social commentary of Winter Solider. But it was a solid effort. Could have been greater. The soundtrack alone should have been outtasight and mind-blowingly groovy, baby.

Humanbelly said...

Motion-capture animation-- is that what we're referring to, Doug? Yeah-- much like was used in Polar Express. . . although they've clearly advanced it tremendously since then (it was fairly creepy, and did not work for me at all in that film-- but it's GREAT in Avatar and in the recent POTA movie).

Man-- who's around today that would be a reliable (and believable) replacement for the Chuck Heston role? That's kind of a fun side-question. Clearly needs to be a big, established star; tons of charisma/screen charm; can't be too old to be believable as an astronaut.
Both Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks come to mind, but they are probably too long in the tooth at this point. Hugh Jackman, maybe? George Clooney. . . also too old, I think. Hmmm. . . uh, David Boreanaz-???

Oh, help me out, teammates. . .


Martinex1 said...

Daniel Craig as Charlton Heston

Pat Henry said...

Liam Neeson maybe could pull off the Bright Eyes role.

Pat Henry said...

Here's a thought about why so many found the character of Quicksilver so riveting: He has absolute joy and zero angst about his powers, and there's not a shred of concern about great power carrying great responsibility.

For all the many, many superhero movies that have been trotted out in recent years—all the darkness, all the brooding angst, the burdensome responsibility and cinematic tragedy, the forbidden love—it is amazing to me that so few have conveyed what we all imagined when we were kids would be the great joy of superpowers-- Just enjoying the heck out of the powers we were given.

Murray said...

That's a top-notch observation, Mr. Henry. And it's an audience desire that needs addressing. After all, many, many folk agree the single good sequence in Man of Steel was when Superman really got the idea, and joy, of flying.

(Though, of course he wasn't "Quicksilver". He was "Peter", maybe last name "Maximoff" if the rusty old mailbox was accurate. And even though he had platinum blonde hair and wore his silver gang gear. And had a little sister with curly auburn locks. But not actually "Quicksilver". That character is someone else's property.
A nice golf clap for a neat play....)

Redartz said...

Murray- good catch on the mailbox, I missed that. Did enjoy Peter/Pietro. Also found the Nixon portrayal convincing; keep him in mind if they ever do a film treatment of Captain America's Secret Empire saga...

Humanbelly said...

Whoops-- totally spaced that Taylor is called "Brighteyes" for a huge chunk of the movie (and book)-!

That might rule out a few folks if one wants to be true to the text. Neeson's got the eyes, and a great voice but yeesh, he's now past 60 years old. Leo Dicaprio has the presence and size-- but not particularly "Bright" eyes-- heh. Tom Hiddleston, if he beefs up a bit, maybe? He can do a solid American accent, and geeze he's an impossibly great actor.

HB-- (always having a minute to play the Casting Game)

Doug said...

We went to see Jersey Boys last night. If you've seen the general consensus of film critics, that the movie rates somewhere around a C and Clint Eastwood is generally panned as the wrong director for the film, then know that I agree with all that. You know how we generally feel about superhero films, particularly the first installment when they "spend an hour just getting the guy in the cape"? Contrarily, I would say that the first hour of Jersey Boys was the best -- it was all set-up to their rags-to-riches-to-rags-to-riches tale, but compared to the last 80 minutes it was a breeze.

Eastwood injected no joy into this film. Both times we saw the play, people clapped along to the songs, there was laughter and just general sunshine. This movie never did that. Well, it should have done it with the end credits, which were a blast! But by that time I think the crowd had been beat down. If you've seen the play, the signature moment is when Frankie Valli sings "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" live. It should have been that in the film, but the execution was awful -- I don't know if it was the sound in our theater or if one of the guys in the horn section was on steroids, but it was awful -- wincing awful.

John Lloyd Young reprises his Tony Award-winning role as Valli and is outstanding. Christopher Walken as mobster Gyp DeCarlo is also fun. But even the times when the cast is very strong cannot save the general ho-humness of this movie.

And if you saw the play and were initially taken aback by the f-bombs in the script, then I'd caution you here, because the language is very raw throughout. Just a head's up if that's an issue for anyone.

I'd go see the play again for the third time -- in a heartbeat. But I don't care if I see the motion picture again.


david_b said...

Thanks for the review, Doug. Would like to have seen the movie, but I'll lean towards the play instead.

HATE the frequent-public use of f-bombs down to the core of my DNA.. Sucks the life out of ANY situation, real life or in a movie.

Typically, I walk out (again either in real life or in a movie..).

Anonymous said...

Doug, the missus and I went to see Jersey boys yesterday and I totally agree with you. Like you, we both saw the play twice and loved it. But at the end of the movie the first thing that I told her was "They took a vibrant, dynamic, leap off the stage play and turned it into a very dull and boring movie." It was just OK. Without seeing any reviews, I was thinking the same thing about Eastwood.


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